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To Augment Hymns or Not…

I recently read a post on the Babylon Bee…and then a followup post on another website…all meant to shine a light at artists – particularly Chris Tomlin – that augment or adapt hymns.

I write this…not in jest…but to educate. As a songwriter…and a guy who occasionally takes hymns and “adapts” them…I have taken jabs over the years for doing such. Two songs on my new album will be hymns with added chorus or bridge.

The people who are most offended may find some facts surprising. Take, for instance, Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).” “Why ruin a PERFECTLY fine hymn?”

GREAT question. To answer….we should probably ask Newton…the pastor who wrote the hymn.

That famous ending verse…that so many cherish…

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
than when we’ve first begun”

So beautiful.

…SO much an adaptation. Newton NEVER wrote it.

In fact…it ONLY came in existence as a result of the novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and has, as a result, been added to hymnals for YEARS since.

What WE cherish…someone else may have adapted.

…but GOD gave all of it.

EMBRACE what God gives.